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Wales’ captain Alun Wyn Jones described receiving an OBE as making him “very grateful” for what the game of rugby has done for him as a person.
The sportsman is the world’s most capped international player and led the British & Irish Lions in their 2021 tour to South Africa – which they narrowly lost.
Speaking after the Windsor Castle investiture ceremony hosted by the Duke of Cambridge, he said: “When I was told about the award my immediate reaction was to be very grateful to the game as a whole for what it’s given me and the qualities and characteristics it’s brought out of me.
“But also for the people, from a young, young age, that have been involved in the game and helped me to be able to achieve, and continue to achieve, what I have done.
“There’s still plenty that I haven’t done, there’s people who have helped me fulfil a certain amount of my potential and there’s still a bit to go.”
The lock has made an indelible impression on the Welsh team since he made his debut in the side in 2006, and he has gone on to help Wales win three Grand Slam titles in the Six Nations championship.
With the Lions he also took part in the victorious tour against Australia in 2013 and four years later was part of the squad that drew the series against New Zealand.
He has not been playing following a shoulder injury and there is speculation he will not be available for the forthcoming Six Nations.
Wales lost a close game against South Africa on Saturday, but Jones was positive about the performance of his teammates – who some said would struggle.
He said: “I think it was a very encouraging game at the weekend. Compared to what the form book and the forecasters were saying – credit to the guys. They were there for nigh-on all of the game but obviously the late score from South Africa got the win for them.”